Friday, September 29, 2006

U.S. Commander: Anbar insurgency in place until U.S. departs

Insurgents in Ramadi, 2005

WASHINGTON -- The insurgency in Iraq's volatile western Anbar province can be beaten but probably not until after U.S. troops leave the country, the commander of forces in the provincial capital said Friday.

"An insurgency is a very difficult thing to defeat in a finite period of time. It takes a lot of persistence -- perseverance is the actual term that we like to use," Army Col. Sean B. MacFarland, commander of 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, said in a video-teleconference with reporters at the Pentagon.

"Who knows how long this is going to actually last?" he added. "But if we get the level of violence down to a point where the Iraqi security forces are more than capable of dealing with it, the insurgency's days will eventually come to an end. And they will come to an end at the hands of the Iraqis, who, by definition, will always be perceived as more legitimate than an external force like our own."

He did not say pointblank that the insurgency could be defeated only if U.S. forces left, but he indicated that his brigade's mission is to reduce violence until Iraqi security forces can take over -- not to outright defeat the insurgency.

Read the rest at the Washington Post

Related Link:
U.S. general sees Anbar fight as secondary to Baghdad

Related Link:
Grim Outlook Seen in West Iraq Without More Troops and Aid